In a swift reversal of Trump’s policies, US President Joe Biden signed a flurry of executive orders on the day he took oath, on issues as wide-ranging as immigration, coronavirus and climate change. Just hours after being sworn in, he sent an immigration bill to Congress that proposed opening a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants living in the United States unlawfully. The executive actions, signed at a ceremony at the White House, included immediately lifting a travel ban on 13 mostly Muslim-majority and African countries, halting construction of the US-Mexico border wall and reversing a Trump order preventing migrants who are in the United States illegally from being counted for congressional districts, Reuters reported.
With an eye on the pandemic, he signed executive orders requiring masks on all federal grounds. His predecessor was often accused of downplaying the threat of the virus and the need for masks and social distancing.
Biden launched a series of climate-friendly efforts that would transform how Americans drive and get their power. He signed an executive order rejoining the Paris climate accord within hours of taking the oath of office, fulfilling a campaign pledge. “A cry for survival comes from the planet itself,” Biden said in his inaugural address on Wednesday. “A cry that can’t be any more desperate or any more clear now.”
The move undoes the US withdrawal ordered by Trump, who loosened regulations on heat-trapping oil, gas and coal emissions, and spurred oil and gas leasing in pristine Arctic tundra and other wilderness. The Paris accord commits 195 countries and other signatories to come up with a goal to reduce carbon pollution and monitor and report their fossil fuel emissions. The United States is the world’s number 2 carbon emitter after China.
Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday at a historic inaugural ceremony, pledging to unite the country and calling on Americans to end the “uncivil war”. Kamala Harris was also sworn in as America’s first woman vice president in a time-honoured ceremony on the steps of the US Capitol, amidst unprecedented security following the January 6 mob attack in Washington D.C. by supporters of former president Trump.
Harris, the daughter of an Indian immigrant from Chennai, scripted history by becoming the first-ever woman vice president of the United States. The 56-year-old former senator is also the first Black and first South Asian American vice president.
In his first speech as president, Biden addressed his “fellow Americans” who may view the future with fear and trepidation—but called on them not to turn inwards in difficult times. “We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal,” the 78-year-old Democrat said after becoming the oldest US president. “We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts. If we show a little tolerance and humility, and if we are willing to stand in the other person’s shoes,” he said.